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Life-long passion and contribution to bird wildlife is recognized
by Sandy Lindsay

May 31, 2015

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(L-R) Mike Pickup, Norah Toth and Doug Pedwell (Chair of the Huron Fringe Birding Festival)

Mike Pickup was the recent recipient of the Norah Toth Award on May 23rd (2015) for "Outstanding Volunteer Contributions' presented by the Huron Fringe Birding Festival .

Pickup has contributed in a variety of ways to his life-long passion for bird wildlife.  He has written books, volunteered in many organizations, including the Huron Fringe Birding Festival, the Friends of MacGregor, the Bruce Birding Club and the Ontario Field Ornithologists (OFO).

He was also the inspiration for the development of the 'Bird Blind' erected in MacGregor Park so that visitors can have the opportunity to unobtrusively view birds in their natural habitat.

Pickup was just nine years old when birds first began to interest him. His father would take him for walks and point out birds on the moors in Lancashire. He came to Canada via England and Ireland when he was thirteen and spent many days hiking and exploring the Bruce Trail near his Georgetown home. Then came the cottage in Sauble Beach, and the eventual move to Port Elgin. It was here that he met his mentor, Martin Parker, a naturalist and ‘big birder’. Martin rekindled Pickup's interest in birding. And the rest is local history. He volunteered for Bird Studies Canada doing Nocturnal Owl Surveys, Breeding Bird Surveys, and Forest Monitoring Surveys.

In addition, he worked on both the first and second Atlas of the Breeding Birds of Ontario projects and, in 2009, received the OFO’s Award of Distinction.

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When he isn’t out in the field or writing you’ll find him with his other love…Mike, the model train enthusiast, has a layout in his basement that occupies most of his winter hours.

When asked what it takes to be a successful birder, Mike’s advice is simple…”get a good pair of binoculars, a field guide, get outdoors and enjoy yourself.” That’s something Mike has been doing for over 50 years.

"Mike's contributions to the world of birding made him an obvious choice for this award," said Norah Toth.
  "He is a gentle man that birders know and highly respect."

It's an honour to be get this award and the recognition of your peers and associates," says Pickup.  "I feel very humbled."

Mike Pickup loves to share his knowledge with others. After he retired, he carried this a step further writing books, such as 'Birding on the Bruce Peninsula' and 'Birding in Saugeen Shores', to give people ideas of where to go and what to expect in certain birding areas and is currently working on a fourth.


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Sunday, May 31, 2015